Clay objects go beyond functional

Foothills show highlights evolution of ceramics

Courtesy photo
“Bison Bone” by Kim Louise Glidden of Littleton is hand-sculpted from stoneware clay and wood-fired. It represents an artifact. It is exhibited in the Colorado Clay show at Foothills Art Center in Golden.
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The Foothills Fine Art Center in Golden has staged more than 30 exhibitions focusing on ceramics as a medium since its initial show in 1974.

During those years, ceramic artists nationwide have increasingly created more fine art pieces in addition to - and in some cases instead of - functional works.

The Colorado Clay Exhibit has offered the widest cross section of artists working in clay in the area, with the exception of a national convention.

A visit is most rewarding to art lovers, whether or not they are familiar with the ancient medium. One can respond to beautiful shapes and textures and at times marvel at "how did they do that?!"

In 2014, an invitational component was added to the traditional juried process. Five well-recognized Colorado artists were invited to exhibit their work: Bebe Alexander, Heather Mae Erickson, Sara Ransford, Martha Russo and Maynard Tischler.

This year's juror is Doug Casebeer, the chairman of the Artists Residency Program and Director of Ceramics, Sculpture, Furniture Design and Woodworking at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass. He is internationally recognized and lectured on "Why We Need Artists in Our Communities" Jan. 25 at the Fine Art Center when the show opened.

Ceramic artist and Littleton business owner Kim Louise Glidden was one of the artists selected by Casebeer and is exhibiting her "Bison Bone," a wood-fired clay sculpture that looks like an artifact. She said that traditionally Native American hunters approached the bison from the right, on horseback and aimed for the animal's heart and lungs. In her scenario, the arrow missed and was later found embedded in thoracic vertebrae when the animal was killed.

Glidden is owner of the Pottery Studio Gallery, as well as a teacher. She offers artworks by more than 50 artists in her spacious shop at 5739 S. Curtis St. in Downtown Littleton, which was once a 1920s Buick dealership.

Four of the artists who sell ceramic work through her shop are also included in the competitive Colorado Clay Exhibit:

  • Bob Smith, teacher at Arapahoe Community College.
  • Todd Redmond of Westminster, a member of the Boulder Pottery Guild who produces brightly glazed sculptural and functional pieces.
  • Robin Furuta, also an ACC instructor, whose functional works have been exhibited in the college gallery.
  • Jerry Rhodes of Colorado Springs, who creates Raku and art pottery.

Twenty-eight other artists were also juried into this large, always interesting exhibit. Each was allowed to enter five items for judging.

If you go:

"Colorado Clay Exhibition" runs through March 16 at Foothills Art Center, 809 15th St., Golden. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 12 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission: $5 adults/$3 seniors/free, members and students with ID. Parking is available behind the gallery, which is housed in a historic Presbyterian church building and the adjacent Victorian mansion. During this show, the gift shop will feature ceramics as well. Info: www.Foothillsartcenter.org or 303-279-3922.

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